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GPhC postpones inspections and 'reviews' activity amid winter pressures

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has postponed some of its pharmacy inspections due to winter pressures, it has said.

A statement published last week (January 11) said that the regulator is keeping its regulatory processes “under review” to support pharmacies during the “ongoing winter pressures”.

“We know that the pharmacy sector is continuing to experience high and sustained demands during this very busy winter period,” it said.

“Given the ongoing winter pressures, we are keeping our regulatory processes under review to ensure we support pharmacies during these challenging times to provide safe and effective care to patients,” it added.


Extended inspection timeline


The GPhC said it has “extended the timeframe of our sample of routine inspections to spread these out over a longer period”, as well as “making adjustments to allow more flexibility for pharmacies to respond to our inspection reports”.

A spokesperson for the regulator confirmed to C+D that the extension to the timeframe of inspections includes those of community pharmacies.

The GPhC also pointed to a statement it issued last month, which pledged to “consider the context you were working in at the time” when assessing any referrals made about a pharmacist’s practice.

Read more: GPhC on 2022: Temporary closures, online pharmacy, and 'remarkable resilience'

It comes as the health secretary Steve Barclay last week (January 9) announced that a reduction in activity by healthcare regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) would form part of measures to relieve pressure on the NHS.

He told the House of Commons that the government would “free up frontline staff from being diverted by CQC inspections over the coming weeks”, with the regulator having “agreed to reduce inspections and focus on high-risk providers in other settings like mental health".

At the same time, Mr Barclay revealed that a new document on NHS recovery is set to detail government plans for pharmacies to take on “additional services”.

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